Analog archival data can supplement modern digital research, but only if those data are preserved, described, and migrated to appropriate formats. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) is responsible for managing, archiving, and disseminating cryospheric and polar data. The clear majority of these data are digital, but the NSIDC also houses a collection of historical archival materials that include measurements related to the earth's glaciated regions prior to the development of modern instrumentation. Their formats, however, are not conducive to contemporary analysis, rendering them ostensibly “lost” to research. This paper describes a series of efforts to provide access to these collections that date back to their original acquisition, as long ago as the mid-nineteenth century, with focus primarily on activities over the last 15 years. The most recent effort was funded by the Council on Library & Information Resources and won the 2016 International Data Rescue Award. The intent is to highlight key challenges, and our proposed own solutions to those challenges, in designing a digitization project centered on providing online access to analog data in glaciological, geomorphological, and related research.
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Maness, J., Duerr, R., Dulock, M., Fetterer, F., Hicks, G., Merredyth, A., Sampson, W., & Wallace, A. (2017). Revealing our melting past: Rescuing historical snow and ice data. GeoResJ, 14, 92-97. doi: 10.1016/j.grj.2017.10.002